TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A major rating agency on Tuesday downgraded Kansas’ credit rating for the second time in two years because of the state’s budget problems.
“The downgrade reflects what we believe to be structural budget pressures,” S&P credit analyst David Hitchcock said in the agency’s statement.
Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since Republican Gov. Sam Brownback successfully pushed the GOP-dominated Legislature to slash personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 in an effort to stimulate the state’s economy.
“It’s just the fundamental, ongoing budget crisis that’s been caused by Sam Brownback’s failed tax experiment,” said state Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat. “The sooner they acknowledge that, the better off this state will be.”
Brownback blames continuing shortfalls in monthly tax collections on slumps in agriculture, energy production and aircraft manufacturing and argues that the tax cuts have blunted the effects of broader economic trends. His administration also has noted the state’s low unemployment rate — 3.8 percent in June.
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